Losing a friend doesn't make sense. Especially if she was only 55. Remember when you were in your 30's and thought 55 was old. Funny what old becomes as one ages, isn't it?
You're supposed to grow old together. Have GNO (Girls Night Out) Share menopause stories, remedies for hot flashes. Go travelling together if you have the means. Look at old photographs of yourselves when you were younger. Maybe make plans to live together ala "Golden Girls." You're supposed to be able to pick up the phone to call with a quick thought. Or send that article from the NY Times that you know she would like. Those things are supposed to be a given. She's just supposed to be here. Period.
The problem is nothing lasts forever. The movie never turns out the way you think it's going to. And sometimes, sadly so, that good friend, the one you counted on, the one you were going to take another trip to Italy with, sometimes isn't able to stick around. Sometimes the unthinkable happens. And this person, who was there every day, is suddenly gone. And the loss is deep, unspeakably and painfully deep. It's as if you go to sleep with all of your body parts intact and you wake up and one of your limbs is missing.
You try to wrap your head around the loss. Hopefully you don't have regrets, that you should have said this, or beat yourself up about something you wanted the two of you to do, but kept putting it off. The regrets won't bring her back. And she wouldn't want you doing that to yourself.
Sometimes you look at a picture and remember what a good time you were having. "Hi kids" is what I often say as I get dressed or prepare for bed when I look at the picture of her, husband-to-be and me and I'm okay. But other times, I look at it, and feel an ache so deep in my heart that it hurts and I ask her, "how can you really be gone?"
I've lost both of both of my parents and I miss them every day. But as painful as that is, it is after all, the natural order of things. But losing a friend, a peer, is devastating. Nothing is the same and your world is shaken to it's core. Yet somehow life must go on. Those trite sayings are trite because they're true.
So I stumble through, trying to make sense of losing someone, who was a beautiful person and ask why did it happen to her? I share memories with those who loved her as much as I did. Sometimes I can successfully offer comfort to her husband, other times completely screw up in my intention to be helpful; always hoping he'll forgive me. And so it goes.
I offer no solutions about the best way to handle something like this, because there is none. You really have to take it one day at a time. There goes another trite, but true homily. All I can do is look back and treasure the time we had together. Be thankful that she put up with my nonsense and sometimes too harsh judgements of people, because she was one of the least non-judgemental of anyone I have ever known. I like to believe that because we were so close, that I'm a better person for having been her friend. I know it was an honor to have been a part of her world. And most days I can find comfort in that knowledge.